Throwback Thursday: Scott Huffman

March 8, 2012

SH_Headshot.jpgScott Huffman (Track & Field) 1984-88
Native Kansan Scott Huffman may have been from the small town of Quinter, but he was destined to make a name for himself on a big stage. That stage proved to be the 1996 Summer Olympics, where he finished 13th in the pole vault. Before entering international competition, Huffman starred at KU, where he was a two-time All-American and Big 8 Conference champion. He also held the American pole vaulting record for two years following his collegiate career. After retiring from competition in 1998, Huffman began a career in pharmaceutical sales, where he continues to work for a Sanofi Pharmaceuticals in the Kansas City area.


What was your favorite part about being a student athlete at KU?
“I would say being able to compete at a Division I school, because as a farm kid from Kansas, getting to move up to a big D1 stage was awesome. I never thought I would end up competing at a school like Kansas.”

You had many great accomplishments during your time at KU, but what are you the most proud of?
“Definitely setting the new conference record as a freshman. This was a big accomplishment for me because as a freshman you usually don’t set records like that, so when I beat the old one it was big for me as it built up my confidence for coming years.”

You competed in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, how proud were you to represent your country and your university on such a big stage?
“It was amazing because when I walked out with the big USA across my chest the crowd just began roaring! I had never experienced anything like that, so it was definitely something I was very proud of and excited to do. The Olympics were great and getting to represent my country was one of the best experiences of my life.”

What was the biggest difference between competing at KU and at the Olympics? “The stage alone, because competing in front of 80,000 people was incredible. I had never experienced something as big as the Olympics, so when I got to do that, it was great. It was funny because I actually ended up rooming with a guy from Kansas State during the games but we got along well.”

In June 1994 you set the American pole vaulting record at 19 feet 7 inches. What does it mean to have had held that prestigious mark for two years?
“That was great because earlier in the day I had set my own personal record. At this point I already won the competition and so they asked me where I want the bar placed. I said, ‘You know, what is there to lose? Let’s put it at the American record.’ I didn’t think I Huffman celebrates after setting a new American pole paulting recordeven had a chance to get it, but on my first attempt I actually did. I was shocked when I got it because even I didn’t expect to get that high.”

What legacy do you hope to have left on track and field program at Kansas?
“I hope I have built the tradition a bit bigger and kept it going as best as I could. KU is a great program and I’m proud that I was able to be a part of it. I look back and I am satisfied with what I accomplished and am glad I did it at Kansas.”

What have you been doing since you retired from competition?
“My final competition was in September of 1998. Since then, I have been in pharmaceutical sales. I work for a company called Sanofi and my territory is Kansas City, Topeka and Lawrence. We sell cardiovascular medicine for Atrial Fibrillation, so I call cardiologists and electrophysiologists.”

Now that you are retired, what do you miss most about competing?
The camaraderie I had with the team. Getting to spend time with the coaches and my teammates was certainly worth the experience. Also being able to compete at a big college was very special to me because as well as going up against athletes from all around the world was something I never expected to do.”

What is the best piece of advice someone gave you during your career at Kansas? Huffman and his wife
“(Former KU coach) Roger Bowen, who said, ‘Just go for it.’ See I was planning on playing football at a small college and had not thought that I had the capabilities to compete at a Division I school like KU. He just told me to go for it and I decided I would. If I hadn’t ended up listening to him I would have never made it to the Olympics.”

Throwback Thursday Archive: